Kjell Erik Killi Olsen

Det banker på porten

November 4 – December 6, 2020

It is with great pride that BGE Contemporary announce our forthcoming exhibition ”Det banker på porten” (Knocking on the Gate), a solo exhibition by Norwegian master Kjell Erik Killi Olsen. 

Kjell Erik Killi Olsen is known for his characteristic style of painting and sculpture, and holds an important position in Norwegian contemporary art history and on the Norwegian contemporary art scene; Killi Olsen created one of the most iconic artworks in Norwegian art history, “Salamandernatten” in 1986, a work that represented Norway at the Biennale in Sao Paulo in 1989. He made his mark as one of Norway’s greatest sculptors in 1994, with the sculpture “Mannen fra havet”, standing 430 cm tall, cast iron and crystal and raised in Bø in Vesterålen. He presented large solo exhibition “Det var en gang” at Lillehammer Kunstmuseum in 2001. In later years he has exhibited at a number of national and international galleries and museums; From 2005 – 2007 the exhibition “Begynnelsen” was shown at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Trondheim Kunstmuseum and Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum In Norway. In 2017 he showed the critically acclaimed solo exhibitions “Den lange reisen” at Galleri Brandstrup and “Killi-Olsen: skulpturer" at Dronning Sonjas Kunsthall in 2018, and was given the honour to be the yearly exhibitor at the Peer Gynt Spelet in 2019.

True to the artists practice, the paintings in “Det banker på porten” are a continuation of his much celebrated artistic universe, and perhaps even a continuation of his frank portrayal of human characteristics in his exhibition at Per Gynt Spelet in 2019. Killi Olsen masterly depicts the honesty in being human, where the spectator is awakened by seeing the paintings, because they portray us as we are, for better or for worse. His art is the opposite of superficial, it digs deeper into the core of humanity, which is why it is also timeless.

The exhibition title ”Det banker på porten” (Knocking on the Gate), refers to our human capability to reflect over our inner selves. Hindered by an environment that promotes greed and disconnect, are we able to open the door to the difficult? With age, wisdom, experiences and pain, are we able to dig deeper within ourselves, or will we close the door forever because some feelings are too challenging to face?

For the past 20 years, Killi Olsen has lived solitary in France. He has now moved to home to Norway, to a farm in Vågå, where he continues his practice unaccompanied. Alone, but not lonely, the artist finds strength and spirituality ugh nature, music and culture. There is a chapel on the farm that he resides, where he often goes to play music, and feels the energy of joyous moments that has filled the chapel through the years, resulting in a strong spiritual feeling. These moments, and his connection and sensitivity to the spiritual is evident throughout the works displayed in ”Det banker på porten”.

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